Binghamton: The Other Stuff

The total game experience -- complete with musing over the loss of the Crimson Girls, a near nacho catastrophe, and an off-off topic moment on regret.

KU v. Binghamton, the Other Stuff Long and off-topic. You've been warned.

Normal routine. I take Mrs. Cheeser to work. I head Downtown. In my office while it is still dark outside. Sweet. Phone not ringing. Hall's quiet. Sort through a few more Christmas cards. I get a kick out of office PC and "professional" Christmas cards; doing all they can to not say "Christmas." Lots of "peace," "holiday," and "success." One company I send some business to has ditched the Christmas card thing altogether and sends Happy Thanksgiving cards only.

Anyway, I'm thinking I've got a head start on the day and all is right with the world. I get a call from Mrs. Cheeser around noon. She's not feeling all that well, and asks if I can pick up some medicine for her before I pick her up for the game. "Of course." I pack my briefcase and head out almost immediately; if the medicine will help in a few hours, it will help now, right? She's only been on the job a few months, and hasn't made the type of friend she could impose upon to drive to the nearest pharmacy for her.

I get the medicine, deliver it, and head to my firm's suburban office, about three blocks from Mrs. Cheeser's office. Computer there doesn't seem to know how important I am. After several calls to my firm's mis-named "help desk," I'm in. After checking e-mail, I bring up Phog.Net. I would think the youngster who used the computer before me would have cleared the Explorer "history" as I'm sure he'd be shocked at what addresses I saw while trying to type in

Time flies. It's time to change clothes and collect Mrs. Cheeser (who is feeling much better, thank you very much). My OGAC issues are starting to creep ME out. Just let me say that the offices out there don't have locks on the doors. Try changing clothes leaning your backside against a door. I hope the thumping sound wasn't misunderstood.

Pick up Mrs. Cheeser and we're on I-435 in front of the traffic. All's well. I ask her how her day went. She responded. And responded. And responded. You ask me, and most guys I know "how was your day," and you get a very predictable answer: "fine." Well, much transpired at Mrs. Cheeser's office, a place where the year-end means much in terms of meeting customers' demands. As a lawyer doing mostly litigation work, the year-end is a time for the judges and other court personnel to take time off. Things usually slow at year-end.

In any event, we're in Lawrence before I can ask, "Where would you like to eat." She responded, "I don't care." Apparently talked out from recounting her day's activities. After carefully probing a bit more, I learn she really meant "I don't care," not "if you really loved me you'd know what I want to eat and I wouldn't have to spell it out for you, you uncaring son of a gun."

We agree we've not had pasta for a while, and go to Paisano's, one of our favorite pre-game culinary adventures.

We both ordered items from the menu we'd never had before. Enjoyed our food. Our server was a bit much, though. For some reason, he felt we needed to know he was much more than a server. He'd been there longer than all the other servers, usually worked days, and had actually concocted two dinner specials often served. Neither of those specials was available then, so I truly wondered why any of this was relevant. I felt like telling the kid that we didn't expect anyone at a restaurant where the normal ticket price was $30 for two to make a career of it. He annoyed me, so every time he would finish exhorting us with his position in the Paisano's hierarchy, I would say something like "that's very interesting, may I have another fork, this one's dirty."

Off to Allen. We're there by about 6:40. Crowd was slow to show up. Stands full a few minutes after tip off.

Shannon was working bravely through the pain. It looked like her left knee was the problem. She never straightened that leg. She was wearing a light blue sweater, black slacks and sensible shoes. I wonder if the skiing accident story is just a ruse, and that the injury occurred falling off the heels she often wears. She moved slowly, and definitely had a hitch in her giddyup.

The Cheerleaders were in their white uniforms, the gals wearing blue ribbons in their hair. They seemed on a different, higher level of performance last night. I'm not sure what it was. Mrs. Cheeser noted, however, that they were doing a LOT more tumbling than normal. While one group would be doing some formation or hold, a number of the others not involved in that activity would be flipping out, literally, all over the place. Lots of energy.

The University of Kansas Dance Team f/k/a The Crimson Girls were in their new, basically white outfits. I had a difficult time enjoying their work as, for some reason, I'm getting a little ticked off at their name. Does anyone know what happened to "Crimson Girls"? Was the problem the "girls"? I know a former Crimson Girl and she doesn't seem scarred by having performed under that name. Could any name be more non-descript than "The University of Kansas Dance Team"? I'd be embarrassed. Really. Anyone know what's up with the name? If "girls" is the problem, how about "The Crimson and Blue Dancers"? Anyone else have an idea?

The band was fine, if a little subdued. It looked like they were missing a few players. The National Anthem was presented by a female "Ray," or would it be "Rae," or Rai"? I enjoyed watching the trumpeter trying to run on to the court to give the singer her first note. When the trumpeter didn't make it in time, someone in the band blatted out the first note and off we went. The trumpeter on the court gave the band a look that could kill.

While I may projecting my feelings on the entire crowd, I would say the crowd was respectfully loud, but not overly so. I know my emotion was mostly relief as the team went on to do what it should have done, blow them out. When the score hit 21 to 2, I know I uttered a "whew!"

The administrator in front of us sold her seats again. She has missed more games than she's attended. The nice folks behind us didn't show up. The son of a gun behind us and to the right was there, and this time his wife was dressed in Carolina blue. That reminds me. What's up with the "stuff stands" selling a Carolina blue ball cap with a navy and crimson "KU"?

The seats over my left shoulder, never containing the same people, were filled by a young father and three boys. The one closest to me was amazing, and not in a good way. He never sat still. I mean never. He jumped, danced, shouted, gyrated, weaved, etc. the entire game. After half time, he returned to his seat with some chips and cheese. I thought he would finally be still. No. The entire time he ate he weaved his head back and forth and stomped his feet. I think this unusual eating attitude is what caused a chip to lodge in his throat that required ministrations from dad.

Now, I'm all in favor of kids being kids, but this kid was out of control. The father was reasonably attentive, but had obviously done the calculus to determine his son was only within striking distance of me and nothing around him was breakable, so while conversing with his son, answering his questions, etc., he had obviously decided to "let him go." I was miffed at first, but got over it. I then started to feel kind of sorry for the parents. Then the teachers. This family left, with a lot of the crowd, with 8 or 10 minutes left in the game.

Those not wanting to read an old guy's post-holiday melancholia, skip this paragraph. After the aforementioned family left, I could hear the voice of a mentally challenged man a few rows behind me. He was clearly enjoying the game. Let me just say that I learned regret as a relatively young man. I define "regret" as having made a mistake and being completely unable to fix it.

I had an uncle who was mentally challenged. He was the sweetest, most innocent soul God ever put on this earth. As I was growing up, he lived with my grandmother, his mother. Sherman was a quiet man, happy to just to be around family, and to look at pictures. Later, my grandmother wasn't as able to take Sherman out of the house, so my mom, Sherman's sister, took over that task. Sherman's favorite thing was to go to K-Mart for coffee. I don't know why he liked K-Mart. Perhaps because its "food court" area was so white and clean, or all the noise and flashing lights. I just don't know. I would go with Sherman and my mom.

After a while, when I was in my early teens, I remember being embarrassed by Sherman. WTF should I case about what the good people at the mid-Iowa K-Mart thought about us!!!!!!! Sherman needed help getting around so he would shuffle with his arm over my shoulder; neither my grandma nor my mother could easily handle him over much of a distance, it was no problem for me. Anyway, Sherman could slurp coffee louder than anyone. I was mortified. Where the heck I got such a high and mighty sense of propriety is beyond me. But anyway, I remember being embarrassed and begging my mother to relieve me of the duty. I know I never said anything hurtful to Sherman, but I also know that a young teen's feelings are pretty close to the surface and probably showed.

Sherman died. Years later, my mom tried to assure me that Sherman never knew what I was feeling inside. I think my mom lied. To make me feel better. In any event, I'm so sorry for the things left undone and unsaid. Regret. Mrs. Cheeser followed the sound of the voice over our shoulders. She reached over and took my hand and said nothing.

We won. We should have, but it was good to have done it. The drive home was without incident (although flashing lights caused us to slow below 80 for a while). Stopped in DeSoto for lottery tickets. You think if we win $210 Million the Williams Fund will return our calls quicker? Top Stories